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England set for barren Brisbane

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Ian Botham Alan Hurst

The irrepressible Ian Botham cleans up Alan Hurst as England home in on a seven-wicket victory at Brisbane in 1978-79

England's recent history at the Gabba is enough to make any supporter wake up in a cold sweat.

From Michael Slater hitting Phil DeFreitas' first ball of the series for four in 1994 to Steve Harmison bowling the opening delivery of the 2006-07 Ashes to second slip, England have been pretty woeful in Brisbane.

And let's not mention Nasser Hussain's decision to field first in 2002.

In the 18 Tests England have played in Brisbane, they have won just four and lost 10.

It all started so well, too. The tourists won their first two Tests at Brisbane, a seven-wicket victory in 1933 followed by a 322-run win three years later.

In that game Maurice Leyland's 126 in the first innings put England in a position of strength, which fast bowlers Bill Voce and Gubby Allen exploited. Voce finished with match figures of 10-57 while Allen took eight wickets in the game.

England had to wait 42 years for their next success in Brisbane, which began with Bob Willis, Chris Old and Ian Botham bowling Australia out for just 116.

Derek Randall made 75 in reply as England built up a healthy lead but Australia regrouped and hundreds from Graham Yallop and Kim Hughes set the visitors 170 to win.


Happier times: England celebrate at the Gabba in 1986 after Mike Gatting masterminded a comfortable win en route to Ashes glory

It was Randall who took England home with an unbeaten 74 while David Gower played his part to finish on 48 not out.

England's fourth and final victory in Brisbane was back in November 1986 when Mike Gatting's side won by seven wickets en route to Ashes glory.

In that game Botham cracked 138 as England rattled up 456 in after being asked to bat first.

Graham Dilley then took 5-68 as Australia followed on and five wickets from John Emburey in the second innings left England chasing 75 to win, which they duly did.

"It was the perfect start to the tour," Gatting told "The Gabba has changed a fair bit since I last played there; it's quite an arena now.

"As captain, if you win the toss you think you should bowl, but then have a bat. You need to bat well, though, but once you get through the first session it becomes a good pitch for two or three days.

"Quite often the team that wins the first session at Brisbane wins the Test. That first ball, first over and first couple of hours are crucial."

England-Australia Brisbane records

England wins: 4
Australia wins: 10
Draws: 4

England - highest total: 464; lowest total: 79
Australia - highest total: 645; lowest total: 58

1933: England won by six wickets
1936: England won by 322 runs
1946: Australia won by innings and 322 runs
1950: Australia won by 70 runs
1954: Australia won by innings and 154 runs
1958: Australia won by eight wickets
1962: Draw
1965: Draw
1970: Draw
1974: Australia won by 166 runs
1978: England won by seven wickets
1982: Australia won by seven wickets
1986: England won by seven wickets
1990: Australia won by 10 wickets
1994: Australia won by 184 runs
1998: Draw
2002: Australia won by 384 runs
2006: Australia won by 277 runs

Michael Slater

Michael Slater hooks Darren Gough on the way to 176 in the opening Test at Brisbane in 1994

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